Aliza Nisenbaum was born in 1977 in Mexico City, Mexico, and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her early work consists of small, intensely painted still-lifes of flowers and large, delicate, yet colorful abstractions. In 2012, Nisenbaum began working as an art and English teacher at Tania Bruguera’s project, a community center called Immigrant Movement International (IMI); there, she painted intimate portraits of the Mexican and Central American immigrants who frequented the space.
The subjects of her recent work are often undocumented immigrants, portrayed in bold colors against patterned interiors and private spaces. For Nisenbaum, the process of painting portraits from observation is a political act, one that sets up an ethical encounter in which both participants give their attention and trust and learn about one another. The portraits offer a personal view of immigrants, some of society’s least visible members.